Thursday, December 16, 2010

MAC Hoops....Checking in....

Well, now that finals are upon us and the basketball schedule takes a pause, I thought I would check in on the other MAC programs, and see how things have progressed relative to what we expected. First, the teams, ranked in RPI order courtesy of

33.  Kent
67. Akron
86. Ohio
95. Miami (OH)
125. Western Michigan
129. Ball State
180. Buffalo
244. Toledo
284. Northern Illinois
298. Central Michigan
332. Bowling Green
342. Eastern Michigan

A few general thoughts:

  • To date, Kent and Akron are the best teams in the MAC.  I'll be damned.
  • The West is underachieving.,..NO WAY.
  • Kent is having remarkable success.  They turned over about 80% of their team, and they are 8-3 against what is currently the #46 ranked schedule in D1.  Wins over very strong Robert Morris and South Florida teams put them in strong position.  Their 3 losses are to @Florida, @Cleveland State and @UAB.  They are playing good D, solid offense and are killing it on the boards.  As expected, Justin Greene is productive (17/7) and transfer Carlton Guyton is making a nice contribution.
  • Central--picked to win the West--is certainly having a disappointing season to date.  Still, its the West.  They could still win it.  CMU is 2-7 against the 223rd ranked schedule.  Their best win is over UIC (266).
  • EMU is lots worse than I thought.  They are the only team with a worse RPI than BG...they have not won a D1 game yet, despite playing the 260th ranked schedule.  6 of their 8 losses are to teams with an RPI of 200 or above.
  • The sleeper team in the MAC might be Western.  They are 4-4 with only one bad loss (@Towson) and a nice win @UWM.  They have played a pretty good schedule, and right now are probably the favorites for the West.

I also wrote about the Five Players I thought we should what you have seen if you have been.


Trey Zeigler, Central Michigan

Zeigler is showing more freshman adjustment than the OMG qualities might have suggested.  Yes, he is 8th in scoring, but to get there he takes 32% of his teams shots, and he is 55th in offensive efficiency.  (Those rankings are in the MAC).   He's playing 33 minutes a game, he just shoots a lot and misses, but you would expect that to improve with time.

DJ Cooper, Ohio University

Cooper leads the MAC and is 10th in the nation in assists.  He's 3rd in the conference in scoring and 16th in offensive efficiency.  In most of his areas, he's having a better season than last year, though his 3-pt and FT shooting is slightly behind last year.  He is clearly picking up some of the Basset scoring slack and remains "worth watching."

Zeke Marshall, Akron

Big men develop more slowly...keep that in mind.  He's playing 24 minutes a game, and scoring just under 10 a game, but he's 44th in the conference in rebounding.  He's below one point a possession on offense.  He does lead the MAC in blocked shots.  He's 6th in fouls per game.  So, 1/3 of the way through his sophomore year, Zeke's potential has yet to be realized.

In fact, I would contend that if you compare Cam Black and Zeke Marshall side by side, you'd see that the Fr. Black is nearly as good as the ballyhooed Marshall in his second campaign.

Justin Greene, Kent

He's just a really good player.  He's Top 5 in scoring and rebounding, offensive rebounds, true shooting and a host of other categories.  He's scored in double figures in every game, and double-doubled four times.  He's just a junior and is among the dominant players in the MAC.

Brandon Bowdry, Eastern Michigan

I put him on here because he's a good player toiling in futility and obscurity up in Ypsilanti.  He's second in scoring and first in rebounding in the MAC, and yeah, he gets there were a lot of shots, but who's he going to pass the ball to?  He's averaging a double-double for the season.

So, those were the five guys I said to watch when the season started.  Now, here are some guys I can only wish I had included.

Xavier Silas

I left Silas out because I said he was the most overrated player in the conference, a contender for the Martin Samarco "Score lots of points using even more possession" award.  Just scoring a lot of points doesn't really get it done if you take all the shots.  Well, that was last year.  This year, Silas' offensive rating moved up from #20 in the MAC to #1.  He's the best true shooter in the MAC, leading in 3pt% and FT%.  He also leads the MAC in getting to the line.  From an offensive standpoint, he has become an absolute force.

Matt Stainbrook

Clearly a contender for freshman of the year, Stainbrook is #2 in the conference in offensive rebounding.  He's averaging 10 points and 5 boards in 23 minutes, and at 6'9"/290, he's the third largest free-standing structure in Kalamazoo.

Byron Mulkey

He is an interesting player.  He played a lot as a Fr., was a captain as a sophomore, hardly played at all as a junior and then red-shirted last year BEFORE his season season, which is highly unusual.  My sources at Bull Run tell me that The 'Spoon wanted Mulkey available this year rather than having yet another senior on last year's senior dominated team.  He is making the most of it.  He's 7th in scoring and 2nd in offensive efficiency in the MAC, first in steals, fourth in assists, and in the Top 5 in all the FT categories.  He's an All-MAC player and probably one you never heard of.

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